Way Out


1h 42m 1966

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1966
Premiere Information
Fort Wayne, Indiana, opening: 4 Nov 1966
Production Company
Valley Forge Films
Distribution Company
Premiere Presentations
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Addict by John Giminez (publication undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color

Synopsis

Frankie, a motherless Puerto Rican who lives in a Bronx slum, finds it impossible to establish any rapport with his father, an alcoholic policeman. He becomes one of many teenaged drug addicts in his neighborhood and eventually lands in jail, where he is forced to kick his habit "cold turkey." Upon release, he learns that one of his friends has been killed by a policeman's bullet, that two others are currently in prison, and that a fourth has died of heroin overdose. In addition, his girl friend, Anita, has become a prostitute to pay for her drug habit. With this final blow, Frankie decides that his situation is hopeless and that he cannot and does not want to reform. A former pusher who has found peace through God follows Frankie when he goes for a fix and attempts to prevent him from renewing his habit. A fight ensues, the premises are raided by the police, and Frankie runs frantically through the streets, dodging bullets, until he finds sanctuary in a church. Physically and emotionally spent, he falls to his knees and prays desperately for spiritual guidance and strength.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1966
Premiere Information
Fort Wayne, Indiana, opening: 4 Nov 1966
Production Company
Valley Forge Films
Distribution Company
Premiere Presentations
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Addict by John Giminez (publication undetermined).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color

Articles

Ghetto Freaks & Way Out on one DVD!


A special edition "Hippie Double Feature" dvd by Something Weird Video serves up two obscurities from the drug-addled past. Unfortunately, the lesser of the two films gets top billing and the front cover, presumably to capitalize on the "Shocking!" "Brutal!" and "Frank!" salacious appeal that Ghetto Freaks (1970) promises, the byline being "every white society chick wanted to join his soul family to get in on the integrated action." But viewers hoping for a colorful dollop of campy fun will need to take some serious uppers to make it through to the highlights, and the danger there is that they might get so bummed out by the final act that they skip out on the far more interesting Way Out (1966).

Ghetto Freaks, directed by Robert J. Emery, has an improvisational feeling during many of its exterior shots when hippies are congregating in parks, getting busted by cops, or panhandling the crowded streets of the big city (in this case, Cleveland), and these contrast sharply with interior scenes where the zoom lens is routinely abused along with hopped-up party sequences and at least one very psychedelic ode to LSD. The protagonist is a lothario whose main interests are demonstrations, parties, and swinging with as many different girls as he can. The "action" follows him from the parks, to jails, to night-clubs, the streets, and then back to the commune where he hangs out with other hedonistic hippies. A drug dealer with a deadly temper and a fresh convert to the commune get tossed in to the fray to allow for some kind of conclusion in what would normally be called the third act but here can only be charitably referred to as "the end." Information on the backflap of the dvd reveals that the film was "Originally released as both Sign of Aquarius and Love Commune" but "was re-released as Ghetto Freaks courtesy of a bogus blaxploitation ad campaign and the addition of two minutes of new footage featuring the black leader of a kinky love cult." Aside for a few scenes that seem to dabble with cinéma vérité, music, and even post-modernism, this is no Medium Cool (1969) or even Hair (1979), but rather an impressive compendium of hippie clichés and kitsch that are belabored into a fine pulp of unfocused tedium.

Way Out, on the other hand, is very focused, and very serious, and not to be confused with Way Way Out, released that same year and starring Jerry Lewis in a science-fiction sex comedy that is set on the moon. The moon would not have been a long shot for director Irvin S. Yeaworth (1926-2004) since he is primarily known for a trilogy of science-fiction films; The Blob (1958), 4D Man (1959), and Dinosaurus! (1960), but after this brief foray he returned to "his first love: making religious movies (including some with Billy Graham)" - (Tom Weaver, IMDB). Yeaworth's religious influences (he was also an ordained Methodist minister) is apparent at the very end of Way Out when the real junkies who acted in the film each address the camera directly, utter devotionals to the Lord, grab their Bibles, and start singing together in unison. "It isn't just what the drug does, it's how important it becomes to you. The addicts in this picture are real people who know." Way Out, based on the play "The Addicts" by John Gimenez, sings with authenticity and grit as it tells various stories of different people living in the Bronx who turn to crime to buy their fix. Fifteen cents could buy a National Enquirer (headline: Rock Hudson Groans: "Playing Bedroom Scenes Gives Me Insomnia. So Much of My Working Day is Spent in Bed I'm Awake All Night"), but not much else. So they steal car batteries, vacuum cleaners, baby carriages (they leave the babies behind on the sidewalk), anything. The scenarios get increasingly brutal, with junkies going through withdrawals, puking, bleeding, overdosing, general misery, and one 16-year-old turning to prostitution. But all is not lost, for Jesus saves and "These ex-addicts are now back in society, living useful lives persuading young people not to experiment with drugs and showing addicts of all kinds that there is a way out."

Both features are presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and show wear-and-tear from their source materials, but colors are vibrant. Special features include "drug-fueled trailers for: The Hard Road, The Hippie Revolt, Monkey on My Back, and The Pusher" along with a short educational film titled "Narcotics - the Inside Story."

For more information about Ghetto Freaks & Way Out, visit Image Entertainment. To order the Hippie Double Feature, go to TCM Shopping.

by Pablo Kjolseth
Ghetto Freaks & Way Out On One Dvd!

Ghetto Freaks & Way Out on one DVD!

A special edition "Hippie Double Feature" dvd by Something Weird Video serves up two obscurities from the drug-addled past. Unfortunately, the lesser of the two films gets top billing and the front cover, presumably to capitalize on the "Shocking!" "Brutal!" and "Frank!" salacious appeal that Ghetto Freaks (1970) promises, the byline being "every white society chick wanted to join his soul family to get in on the integrated action." But viewers hoping for a colorful dollop of campy fun will need to take some serious uppers to make it through to the highlights, and the danger there is that they might get so bummed out by the final act that they skip out on the far more interesting Way Out (1966). Ghetto Freaks, directed by Robert J. Emery, has an improvisational feeling during many of its exterior shots when hippies are congregating in parks, getting busted by cops, or panhandling the crowded streets of the big city (in this case, Cleveland), and these contrast sharply with interior scenes where the zoom lens is routinely abused along with hopped-up party sequences and at least one very psychedelic ode to LSD. The protagonist is a lothario whose main interests are demonstrations, parties, and swinging with as many different girls as he can. The "action" follows him from the parks, to jails, to night-clubs, the streets, and then back to the commune where he hangs out with other hedonistic hippies. A drug dealer with a deadly temper and a fresh convert to the commune get tossed in to the fray to allow for some kind of conclusion in what would normally be called the third act but here can only be charitably referred to as "the end." Information on the backflap of the dvd reveals that the film was "Originally released as both Sign of Aquarius and Love Commune" but "was re-released as Ghetto Freaks courtesy of a bogus blaxploitation ad campaign and the addition of two minutes of new footage featuring the black leader of a kinky love cult." Aside for a few scenes that seem to dabble with cinéma vérité, music, and even post-modernism, this is no Medium Cool (1969) or even Hair (1979), but rather an impressive compendium of hippie clichés and kitsch that are belabored into a fine pulp of unfocused tedium. Way Out, on the other hand, is very focused, and very serious, and not to be confused with Way Way Out, released that same year and starring Jerry Lewis in a science-fiction sex comedy that is set on the moon. The moon would not have been a long shot for director Irvin S. Yeaworth (1926-2004) since he is primarily known for a trilogy of science-fiction films; The Blob (1958), 4D Man (1959), and Dinosaurus! (1960), but after this brief foray he returned to "his first love: making religious movies (including some with Billy Graham)" - (Tom Weaver, IMDB). Yeaworth's religious influences (he was also an ordained Methodist minister) is apparent at the very end of Way Out when the real junkies who acted in the film each address the camera directly, utter devotionals to the Lord, grab their Bibles, and start singing together in unison. "It isn't just what the drug does, it's how important it becomes to you. The addicts in this picture are real people who know." Way Out, based on the play "The Addicts" by John Gimenez, sings with authenticity and grit as it tells various stories of different people living in the Bronx who turn to crime to buy their fix. Fifteen cents could buy a National Enquirer (headline: Rock Hudson Groans: "Playing Bedroom Scenes Gives Me Insomnia. So Much of My Working Day is Spent in Bed I'm Awake All Night"), but not much else. So they steal car batteries, vacuum cleaners, baby carriages (they leave the babies behind on the sidewalk), anything. The scenarios get increasingly brutal, with junkies going through withdrawals, puking, bleeding, overdosing, general misery, and one 16-year-old turning to prostitution. But all is not lost, for Jesus saves and "These ex-addicts are now back in society, living useful lives persuading young people not to experiment with drugs and showing addicts of all kinds that there is a way out." Both features are presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio and show wear-and-tear from their source materials, but colors are vibrant. Special features include "drug-fueled trailers for: The Hard Road, The Hippie Revolt, Monkey on My Back, and The Pusher" along with a short educational film titled "Narcotics - the Inside Story." For more information about Ghetto Freaks & Way Out, visit Image Entertainment. To order the Hippie Double Feature, go to TCM Shopping. by Pablo Kjolseth

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Bronx, New York, and Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.